Explorers & Pirates – The New Expansion for “The Settlers of Catan” – Part 4
Part 4: Pirate Lairs
Logbook: The Council of Catan sent our ships to an unexplored area where, as rumor had it, countries with rich gold deposits existed. Our mission was to find those gold deposits and secure them for Catan.
First, our mission led us to a large, uninhabited island. There was no gold far and wide, but the fertile island was very appropriate for establishing our initial outpost. After we had found a suitable place for a harbor and built an outpost there, we hoisted anchor and sailed further east.
After a couple of days, a shoreline emerged where a small river flowed into the sea. We followed the river and soon found the coveted metal auspiciously gleaming in the riverbed. Full of excitement, we prepared to build a settlement at the river mouth. We barely had rammed the first posts for our houses into the loamy ground, when we heard a loud rumble, and moments after a cannonball hit right in front of our ship anchored on the riverside.
Then our scout came running and informed us about a well-fortified pirate lair controlling the river - and thus, the gold it contained - at a strategically favorable location. As peaceful settlers, we were no match for the pirates bristling with weapons, so we quickly loaded our possessions on the ship and hoisted anchor. We consoled ourselves with the hope that we would discover other islands containing gold deposits.
And that's what we did. However, all the other gold fields we discovered were also controlled by pirate lairs. It almost seemed to us as if someone was playing games with us, games that were anything but funny. Since our mission was to secure the gold fields, and the hostile pirate lairs stood between us and the precious metal, there was only one solution: the pirate lairs had to disappear.
In the game, if you discover a gold field (A), you take a Pirate Lair token (B) and place it on the gold field (C). The back of each Pirate Lair token depicts a number.
To capture the pirate lairs, the players build crews. Each crew costs 1 ore and 1 wool. After you have built a crew, you place it in the basin of a harbor settlement or in a ship adjacent to a harbor settlement. The cargo bay of a ship can accommodate up to 2 crews.
When your ship - which may carry 1 or 2 crews - reaches a gold field with a pirate lair, you may place your crew(s) on the pirate lair.
As soon as one or more players have placed a total of 3 crews on the pirate lair, it is captured. Now the booty is divided: each player who participated in the capture receives 2 gold.
In addition, the mission progress is recorded on the victory point scoring track named “Pirate Lairs”: each player who participated in the capture may move his marker forward 1 field on this track. If you are elected “hero” in a dice duel (sum of number rolled and number of crews placed), you may move your marker forward yet another field – in return, however, one of your crews dies a hero's death.
The number of victory points you receive for your mission progress is depicted to the right of your marker. The player whose marker occupies the most advanced position, or in case of a tie, the player whose marker is at the bottom of the stack receives the special victory point card “Greatest Pirate Scourge.” The first player to reach 12 victory points on his turn is the winner of this scenario.
After capture, the Pirate Lair token is turned so that its number side faces up. Only now the players may build settlements at the corners of the liberated gold field. If the number of the gold field is rolled, the owner of an adjacent settlement or harbor settlement receives 2 gold.